Open Letter #3 to Rebekah Merkle (Doug Wilson’s Daughter)

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This post is in response to “Tater Tot Feminism” by Rebekah Merkle (Found Here.)

Dear Rebekah,

Thank you for your last response, but I am afraid you have left me more confused than ever. You seem to be a tough cookie, so I am going to be a little more critical of your writing style and beliefs in this post. I hope you will take it as constructive and know that I am not at all attacking you or your family’s character.

You got one thing right, I had no idea what sect of complementarianism you fall under, so perhaps I should not have assumed in my last letter. Have you ever seen the movie “Big Daddy?” Some complementarians would not dare have this movie in their homes. Others would allow it as long as some sort of clearplay filter was installed. Regardless, your last post reminded me of this famous scene (warning: the *S* word is said and there is no clearplay):

The major weakness of the complementarian camp is that their “rules” are inconsistent and it is quite easy to win a theological debate when you get to make up your own rules; then back up your “rules” with my favorite complementarian one-liner of all time, “This was God’s idea, not mine.”

I almost did not respond to your last post because I am beginning to think that you believe it is totally OK to make up your own rules. Also, I know that by the end of this debate you and your camp will truly believe that you have “won” this debate regardless of the fact that you have presented little to no legitimate biblical arguments.

You spout off opinions of what you believe the Bible teaches and back them up with metaphors that sort-of make sense and humor that is sort-of funny. Further, most of your commentary is defensive, trying to prove that your dad is not a misogynist and such. I was hoping for offensive material proving your case with deeper scholarly research; but instead, I got more “Douglas” opinions of the Bible. You say that your dad saw to it that his daughter’s were well educated and I believe it, but you have yet to prove this with any of your posts directed to me.

The only reason I am responding to your last post is because my stats are showing that thousands of people are reading this dialogue between you and I and my hope is to bring some clarity to some of your confusing statements.

For example, you write:

Why did the apostle Paul praise Junia as outstanding along with many other female leaders in the New Testament? Well first, because they were praiseworthy. And they did good work. For the gospel. And they should have done those things. Good job Junia!

Later, you write that God only calls men to preach God’s Word:

And I can’t be a preacher because I’m not a man.

Firstly, I respect the fact that I think you acknowledge Junia as a legitimate apostle. Many complementarians deny that Junia was a female and if they accept that she was a female they deny that she was an apostle (yet, another inconsistency in the comp camp).

In early Church times, an apostle was the highest level position among church leadership. We know that Paul and Peter were apostles. By looking at their lives in Scripture, we are able to glean insight as to what Apostle Junia’s responsibilities would have been.

As Paul and Peter, chances are likely that Junia would have been responsible to lead both men and women, preach God’s Word to them, and help them stay on the “Jesus-track.” Most scholarship agrees that an apostle would have had the most God-given authority among early church leaders. So, I am with you, good job Junia!

I know your dad’s position concerning Junia:

How much authority is involved is a pure function of the sending agency, and what the sent one is commissioned to do. Of course Junia was a sent one. But whose? To what purpose? The mere use of the word gives us no basis for promoting someone who was sent for coffee to the ranks of the Twelve (Source Here).

I do not claim to be the “sharpest tool in the shed” by any means, but I would venture to suggest that N.T. Wright is a more serious scholar than your dad. So for the sake of those who are searching for a less crude writing style and more serious scholarship, let’s take a look at what Dr. N.T. Wright has to say concerning Junia.

We should not be surprised that Paul calls a woman named Junia an apostle in Romans 16.7. If an apostle is a witness to the resurrection, there were women who deserved that title before any of the men. (I note that there was a huge fuss in the translation and revision of the New International Version at the suggestion that Junia was a woman, and that not a single historical or exegetical argument was available to those who kept insisting, for obvious reasons, that she was Junias, a man.) (Source Here).

Complementarianism can ignore Apostle Junia all they want and try to demean her as the “coffee runner apostle,” but the truth is that her title of “apostle” matters. She was either a legitimate apostle or she was not and above is at least one “real” NT scholar telling us that she was.

Beyond the Bible, to say a woman cannot preach is simply unrealistic. Women are preaching all over the world and good fruit is coming out of their ministries and their teachings. Anyone who denies this has literally lost touch with what is happening in the world.

Perhaps what you were trying to say is that women should not preach. To that, I would say, if a woman plants a tree and that tree produces fruit that tastes good and nourishes people’s bodies, why would we want to tear down her tree just because she is not male? Likewise, if a female preacher is helping to usher lost souls into the Kingdom and is spreading the teachings of Christ, why would we want to stop her simply because she was born a girl?

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. -Matthew 7:15-20

Surely, not every female preacher is a “false prophet,” in sin, or out of line with God’s Will for spreading the Word of God? Do you see how absurd this thought is? Surely we can look at the lives of many female preachers who love Jesus with all their hearts and strive to honor Him by living holy lives. Would you really want the women in China who are leading the house church movement there to stop preaching and leading, when they make up 75% those spreading the Gospel and discipling new Christians (this stat is from a missionaries email I received)?

You state, “It is vital, in my view, that any Christian woman, in any century, in any part of the world, should be able to open her Bible and find in it clear teaching on how she should live without having to be a PhD candidate.” While I agree that any person can study the Word of God without having a theology ed background; refusing to study the Bible (each person for themselves) in proper context is dangerous.

For example, any Christian woman can open her Bible and read “Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites (Ephesians 6:9).” Without understanding the cultural context and reading the rest of the Bible, anyone could determine that God is cool with slavery. In fact, this argument was often used when slave owners in America fought for the continuation of enslaving blacks.

It seems the crux of your argument is that we must take the Bible literally, at face-value, and that deeper research is not necessary concerning women’s roles and how they should live their lives. If this is in fact what you are saying, then why do you not wear a head covering? The Word is plain and clear when it states, “Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering (1 Corinthians 11:6)?”

Further, do you ever get your hair cut or colored? Do you wear a wedding ring? Do you wear beautiful clothing? If so, Peter would advise you not to be concerned with these things in 1 Peter 3:3: 

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.

All I have to do is google your name under images to know that you enjoy beautiful clothing and since at one time you operated a clothing business for children, I would venture to say “beautiful clothing” was a daily concern at one point in your life (See pics here). I am not judging you; I think your pics are adorable and my pictures on the internet show I love nice clothes, jewelry and stylish hair too! But, I am exposing what I deem to be “theological hypocrisy” at its finest. It is not your fault sister; you have obviously been taught that some “literal Bible rules” are OK to break and others are not OK to break. 

The truth of the matter is that complementarianism breeds all sorts of confusion because legalism makes no sense and contradicts itself.

Egalitarians agree that women can operate in any role a man can operate in within church leadership and our biblical arguments are generally consistent. Some complementarians permit women to teach 18-year-old males certain subjects, but others do not allow women to teach men at all. Some complementarians allow women to share scripture in church, while others do not. Some complementarians permit women to serve as deacons, while others do not. Some complementarians even allow women to be pastors with the exception of “lead pastor” and others do not. Some complementarians allow women to be lead pastors as long as they have some sort of “male covering” such as an elder or a husband.

The truth is, I am beginning to have no idea what a “real complementarian” is because there is little consensus among the movement. I now know the “Douglas form” of complementarianism anyways; but if we conclude that the “Douglas form” of complementarianism is the biblical form, then logic forces all of us to conclude that all complementarian forms that contradict the “Douglas form” are not biblical.

Complementarianism is a house divided against itself and the Bible tells us that a house of this sort will fall down (Mark 3:25). It is only a matter of time. It’s easy to win when we make up our own rules in the Church and call them “God’s rules.” Complementarianism does not play fair and all of your posts in this dialogue have proven this Rebekah. For this reason, I fold and you “win.” 😉

Blessings Sis,

Jory Micah

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67 Comments

  • I have enjoyed your conversation with Doug Wilson’s daughter. I think you have handled yourself well.

    There is one thing I wanted to point out to you. You used the example of slavery in this post to bring attention to the need to understand culture and context properly. I think it was a good point though it may fall on deaf ears. Are you aware of DW’s views on slavery? Check out this blog post and it may clear up in your mind some of the logic and influence this woman has been exposed to.

    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/a-question-for-wilson-fans/

    • Thank you Ashley. Yes, I am aware, but I still wanted to make the point for all those following this exchange who are against slavery.

    • Ashley, I would thing it best to go to what Douglas Wilson has written about his views in slavery instead of what people think he believes. Always best to go to the source.

      • I found some quotes directly out of, Southern Slavery As It Was, writeen by Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins. One section is titled Unexpected Blessings
        Really blessings?
        http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/slavery/southern_slavery_as_it_was.htm

        “When we turn to individuals and families, the situation is very different. The abolitionists maintained that slave-owning was inherently immoral under any circumstance. But in this matter, the Christians who owned slaves in the South were on firm scriptural ground. May a Christian own slaves, even when this makes him a part of a larger pagan system which is not fully scriptural, or perhaps not scriptural at all? Provided he owns them in conformity to Christ’s laws for such situations, the Bible is clear that Christians may own slaves.”

        “But in spite of the evils contained in the system, we cannot overlook the benefits of slavery for both blacks and whites. We refer here to several matters of some importance.

        First was the influence of Christianity. More than one slave lived to thank God for his servitude — despite all the hardships involved. Martin Jackson of Texas puts it this way: “I believe that slavery in this country, taking everything into consideration, was a Godsend for the slaves. The twenty million Negroes are descended from four million sent over from Africa. If it had not been for the slave traffic, we would still be living in Africa. I would be a heathen and my children would be heathens.”41 More than one former slave had reason to stand in the place of the biblical Joseph and say, “Men meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” The slavery they were delivered from was far worse than any they suffered in this country.

        Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since. Whatever its failures, slavery produced in the South a degree of mutual affection between the races which will never be achieved through any federally-mandated efforts.”

  • What constitutes a “legitimate biblical argument?” Is there a standard we can all apply?

    You accuse Rebekah of spouting off opinions…yet if there is no objective standard, are you not guilty of doing the same thing…even if you quote NT Wright (who is only a man)?

    • Sandra Richter is another OT scholar who has done extensive work in this area and I think you’ll find her book “Epic of Eden” a wildly compelling and deeply scholarly argument in favor of mutualism (not that this is the only subject on which she writes in the book). In fact, I’d use her work before even NT Wright’s in this area, which should say something of its quality and profundity.

  • Hi Jory,

    I know you sub “source” for “head” but what about the rest of the verse.
    “Therefore as the church is subject to Christ , so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23
    Also, if an elder is to be the husband of one wife, how do you deal with that? (1 Timothy 3:2)

    Blessings!

    Meredith

    • Hi Meredith.

      I don’t believe in reading the Bible in a vacuum. Since the Bible praised Apostle Junia in the book of Roman and an Apostle was of higher authority than an elder in the early Church, surely Paul was not saying that females cannot be elders universally and timelessly. The Apostle Paul seemed to have different “church rules” for different churches due to what was happening in that specific church/culture. If you read the book of Romans, you will find that Paul praises all sorts of female church leaders, so it is clear that Paul permits female leadership in the Roman Church. Timothy’s Church was in Ephesus, so both letter to Timothy as well as the book of Ephesians, were written to that specific church (which was a Greek culture). History shows us that this specific church was having a lot of problems with “loud mouth women” who were causing trouble and interrupting order (some were even false prophets). So, for this specific church, Paul calls men to lead (not because they are men but because the men were the ones who were trained and not causing disorder in that specific church). I encourage you to read the book of Romans and do some studying. Paul encouraged and praised so many female leaders in the Roman Church. It is really quite amazing how complementarians seem to ignore this.

    • I thought this was an interesting quote on Ephesians 5 from N.T. Wright, who I believe is an egalitarian:

      “Paul assumes, as do most cultures, that there are significant differences between men and women, differences that go far beyond mere biological and reproductive function. Their relations and roles must therefore be mutually complementary, rather than identical. . . . With marriage, the guideline is clear. The husband is to take the lead – though he is to do so fully mindful of the self-sacrificial model which the Messiah provided. As soon as ‘taking the lead’ becomes bullying or arrogant, the whole thing collapses.”

      So it does seem like some egalitarians recognize male leadership and a distinction in gender roles in marriage.

      • I am pretty certain that N.T. Wright is *NOT* an egalitarian, but he does affirm women in church ministry/leadership.

        • Ok, that makes sense. I was confused by your quote of Wright and what I have heard other egalitarians say about Wright. So, egalitarians believe there are “no significant differences between men and women?” Is that really the crux of the debate?

          • No Brad, Egal’s believe that there are significant differences between men and women, but God does not grant leadership gifts based off gender.

          • Ok, got it, I think.
            Both positions recognize deep differences between female and male.
            The complementarian position would say: “God does not grant leadership gifts based off gender, but does, in either one (for Wright, just in marriage) or two (for Wilson, just in marriage and the office of pastor-teacher) instances, limit how those leadership gifts can be used.”
            The egal position would say: “God does not grant leadership gifts based off gender, and there are no instances when those gifts can limited due to gender.”
            Does that sound fair and charitable to both positions?

          • I think that is a good way to say that, Brad. If you are trying to parse out egalitarian thought – the fact that we happily recognize differences between genders and that they compliment one another, but do not believe those differences dictate authority or leadership, this is a great help. Very comprehensive. http://amzn.to/1RlFAek

          • I think it’s a good generalization, Brad, but I’ve have found that these positions tend to fall on a continuum rather than neatly into two camps.

    • Hello Meredith,
      I have really enjoyed studying and learning from many men and women who have really researched these confusing verses. On the husband of one wife issue I have found the following post very helpful, by Phillip B. Payne, Does “One-Woman Man” In 1 Timothy 3:2 Require That All Overseers Be Male?
      http://www.pbpayne.com/?p=426

      I hope it is helpful to you
      Jenn

  • Beautifully done Jory! I’m glad that so many are engaged in the dialogue. For many, I know it will be their first glance at egalitarianism. I am praying God will move hearts and minds. I always say that complimentarianism ALWAYS leaves me with more questions than answers. And it is MUCH MORE FAR REACHING than just preaching on Sunday morning. A man literally becomes an intercessor/mediator between a woman and God! It effects all areas of her life and ministry. There are true dangerous components involved. Glad you are doing this work. You encourage me to engaged in this battle. I’m feeling moved to pick up the pen:)

  • Jory, I thought these remarks in Rebecca’s post about why she can teach men in the classroom but not in the pulpit were telling: “When the pastor steps into the pulpit (or cultural equivalent) during corporate worship, something very different is going on than the other interactions of believers throughout the week. The Sunday morning preaching – speaking as the oracles of God – is a far cry from, “Everyone take out your paper because we’re going to practice writing iambic pentameter,” or even – to my senior Apologetics class, “Open to Proverbs 26:4 and we’re going to discuss how this applies to Presuppositional Apologetics.” This shows she is applying a contemporary understanding of church and preaching that is much different than the reality of the early church. Paul told the church “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up” (1 Co 14) and gave specific instructions for both men and women about prophesying in worship (equivalent to bringing the Word of God to the congregation) in 1 Corinthians 11. He would be baffled by our modern day hierarchical model of the head or senior pastor. Thanks for taking the time to write these posts!

  • Jory, fortunately calling her arguments illegitimate, doesn’t make it true.

    Her “cruise” through your list of women in Scripture effectively took Occam’s razor to each. She didn’t need “deeper scholarly research.” The same for Eph 5. The context surrounding the word suffices to complete the argument. Adding pretentious jaw to prove a point is childish.

    Also, I don’t like verses in a vacuum either. So, please look at 1 Peter 3:3:
    “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.” — you seem pretty concerned with clothing, which misses the whole point that Peter was making. He wants us to focus on our hearts.

    “There is no ornament like that. No taste can ever conceive anything so lovely as a holy character. No expensive materials, and no ingenious fashioning of them, can ever produce such true beauty as “a meek and quiet spirit.” You must have known some godly matrons, venerable Christian women, whose gentle piety has blessed the whole household of which they formed a part. They attained supreme authority over all simply by yielding; they gained a queenly position in the house by gentleness and quietness. Nobody dared to offend them; — not because they would have been in a passion, but because they were themselves so inoffensive, so kind, so gentle.” – Spurgeon

    • “They attained supreme authority over all simply by yielding…”
      I have never known anyone – woman or man – who gain authority over a person or group by yielding to them. I have heard of people gaining authority (over previous equals at work, for example) by yielding to bosses, but not gaining authority over A by yielding to A.

      If you believe men should have authority, should they gain it by yielding to women?

      • CHRIST? He submitted to the FATHERS will and yielded to our needs; gaining authority over all, in Love. Men are commanded to Love their wives as CHRIST, with the same referential authority; wives are commanded to submit to such great gift, in everything.

        • Please don’t forget Eph. 5:21: husbands and wives are called to submit to one another and Jesus called all Christians to love one another sacrificially. Mutual love and submission is much more beautiful in a marriage and I know this because I have a marriage like this and we are the bestest of friends and lovers. My parents also have a marriage like this and have been in love for over 38 years. This is the “reality.” Blessings! 🙂

          • I am sorry, but does your attempted anti-thesis not remove Eph. 5 in entirety? Read the first part of the chapter; then place yourself in others shoes. If you do not fear the Lord (who blots your sins) sufficient to meet the requirements in v. 22, why should other one bodies, including any husband and wife, fear GOD to submit to you and/or your husband as one in v. 21?

            My parents were married many decades more than yours when they passed. I have been married for many, many, many decades; having children older than you. Yet I would still give GOD privilege of the definitions marriage, beautiful, bestest and “Reality”; because I know what both the requirements and the fruitful results are. Remember; the results of the failures to teach as instructed in Titus 2 are blaspheme against the word.

            As you state: “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16). “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)

            Always remember: until HEAVEN and earth pass, not one jot or little tittle of the law will pass; until all is fulfilled. Whosoever breaks the least of the commandments and teaches others such also will be the least of the Kingdom. (Matthew 5)

            And always remember:
            2 Peter 1:
            20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
            21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

            The Holy Ghost will will teach you and bring you into remembrance. (John 14:26)

            These things were shared in wisdom by someone I cherished; when I was about your age. I share these again within Love.

          • We simply have a different interpretation on this subject. I don’t make silly arguments and I do respect the authority of God’s Word. So thanks, but I stand on my beliefs. God Bless you. Truly. You are welcome to not follow this blog. I totally understand. There are many blogs out there for you. Love in Christ. Seriously! 🙂

          • But are they your beliefs; or do they belong to someone else? The first statement of faith at Regent: “That the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept.” and you state that you respect that authority. Does this great gift then not belong to the entire Body?

            Do you not derive by intent? Deriving not only actions, but justification; against Sound Doctrine? One can easily justify anything; in ones own mind. You state that you do not make silly arguments; then make some arguments for HIM.

          • @ Reality.
            I was raised in a gender complementarian family but realized by my mid 30s or so that it’s a false belief system.

            Rather than being quick to find fault with Jory M. here, have you really stopped to consider the points made against complementarian views as put forth not just on this blog but on other sites and forums?

            There are conservative Christians who have written books and blog pages pointing out the errors of male headship, one-way submission (ie, wives to husbands), etc., if you care to really study their views and understand them.

          • But we Love Jory and foster her potential; that’s what Christians do. He Loves us that much and we Love others that much. Do you not appreciate and pray for those placed in servant authority to provide and protect you? They are there because HE Loves you. You are here because of them and HIM.

            We listen to all, but do not arbor individual interpretations; we are commanded not to. Would you like to present some of your views for discussion?

        • Thank you, Jory – It is good to be reminded that in the long run, many who are first will be last, and last first. On earth, what I rather see is that gentle people are oppressed and ignored, not gaining authority.

          As for “Reality” – no, you did not contradict anything I said. I admitted some people gain authority over one group by submitting to a leader who is not part of the group authority is gained over – Jesus submitting to the Father and gaining authority over the church would be such – but Jesus did not gain authority “simply by yielding” to us, but by among others showing His power (even to overcome death) beside His love.

          As such, authority “simply by yielding” does not work in the way of “no one dared offend them” that the starting post suggest. Some day many of the last will be first, but not because people never offend those who are quiet and gentle.

      • In the kingdom of God, Jesus tells us that the first shall be last and that when we willingly lay down our lives, we gain our lives.

    • Anna, further study on some of the verses that gender complementarians like to cherry pick to try to prove their position is in fact needed, because they make a lot of unfounded assumptions about what Apostle Paul (or other Biblical authors) wrote.

      Here is but one page that explains a little more of the background behind one contested passage and/or gives you other ways to consider the passage:
      http://juniaproject.com/defusing-1-timothy-212-bomb/

  • I was interested to read your posts to each other…This is the first time I am reading your writing. I am not American, so the titles egalitarian or complementarian do not mean much to me. I just want to find out what the Bible says.
    In my studies about women and the church etc. I found something very interesting: why did Jesus choose only 12 males to be apostles? Why not 6 men and their wives? Why not some women, at least?
    He was just and fearless and not bound by his culture whenever it contradicted the kingdom of God. And still he chose 12 male leaders?

    In your debate with Becah, I find that her reasoning is more Biblical. Especially when she doesn’t go to the clothes and jewelry but sticks with the issues presented.

    I find that the responsibility to lead for men is freeing for us women. And it gives a challenge to men. So many of them are lurking in the lobbies, fearful to take the challenge to lead and be responsible. I think God was thinking the best for both men and women when He chose men to lead…It is good for us all when men finally will step up and face the challenges of the culture and the world today. I pray there will be more and more courageous men who will stop hiding behind the ladies for the sake of not rocking the boat.

    • The most probably reason Jesus chose 12 men was the patriarchal time and society he was coming into. Some scholars believe the 12 men represent the 12 tribes of Israel. But after the initial selection there were many other disciples, including women. Luke 8:1-3 is an often overlooked but key passage related to this issue. There are women traveling with Jesus and funding his ministry from the start – and several of these women are mentioned by the gospel writers as being there at the cross. To have women traveling with a rabbi was revolutionary for that time! Here’s a question to ponder – if Jesus were to come today, would he only choose male disciples? Here’s a great article that answers your question more specifically: http://juniaproject.com/but-twelve-apostles-all-male/

    • Hannah said, “I find that the responsibility to lead for men is freeing for us women. ”

      Hannah, this is actually a bad thing, and something the Bible does not endorse. The Bible teaches that each person is responsible for his or her own behavior and choices in life. The Bible also says there is only one mediator between believers and God, and that is Jesus Christ, not any male human.

      What you are advocating is actually something called “codependency,” and God does not endorse codependency for either men or women, whether single or married.

      One common characteristic of codependency, among others, is to turn over one’s agency or decision-making to another person; to be overly reliant on another person – rather than being responsible for yourself, your own choices, your own life, and relying on God.

      You might want to read a book by Christian authors Cloud and Townsend called “Boundaries,” where they address this topic in more detail. Another good book that addresses that issue is “No More Christian Nice Girl,” by Christian authors Coughlin and Degler.

      • How does any of your statement meet the requirements of Titus 2?
        1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
        2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
        3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
        4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
        5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
        6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

        Does the Holy Spirit not bring you into remembrance? Were you never taught? Is that an excuse? Why do you blaspheme to Word in resultant? Why do you reference the individual ideologies of others? “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:8-9). Is your entire intent to be a stumbling block?

    • If you want to be taken as a serious contributer to this discussion you may not want to resort to ad hominem attacks, claim that your opponents “can’t” answer your challenges, and shamelessly police the comments. There are people who are genuinely trying to sort this out. And those kinds of things will make them look elsewhere.

      • Hello Ingrid,
        I am hoping you might reconsidered your thoughts on why Jory deleted DT’s comments. I actually read the first comment DT left because Jory allowed it but then it was after the second one that she decided to remove both. The comment I read from DT seemed rude to me and not at all an attempt to join the discussion to try and sort things out over this issue. Not everyone who comments does so for that reason some just comment to show their disagreement and don’t actually want to engage respectfully. I beleive that may have been why she removed them. I beleive it is perfectly acceptable to decide whose comments she wants to be read by all. Jory has not shown herself to not be willing to engage people who disagree with her. That seems to be one of the reasons she wrote these letters in the first place to engage with others of differing opinions, to learn from each other and maybe even be able to appreciate each others opinions even while remaining to disagree. I feel she has also been kind and respectful in how she responds to people. She is not policing the comments and instead that she is trying to, in my opinion, create a safe place for others to engage and sort out this topic. I think you may have misunstood Jory. Maybe you could think the best her and that she may have had a very good reason for removing DT’s comments.

  • Hi Jory. I have spent many years I the past discussing the issue of gender between myself as a “complementarian” and egalitarians. We worked hard at truly understanding each other, and uncovering presuppositions that caused us to be unable to hear what the other was saying. I see the same dynamics happening here. I don’t find Rebekah’s posts confusing or adhering to made up rules. Nor do I find yours difficult to understand. What I do see is you refusing to continue a discussion (and perhaps Rebekah will too) because the other side is not making the “reasonable” moves you think they should.

    I totally understand why you would not continue. It is hard work trying to mine a foreign mindset. But I wanted to suggest that your impression of Rebekah’s (and the complementarian) side of a discussion might not be as illogical or arbitrary as you seem to think.

    Just my perspective.

    • This is my third letter to Rebekah. I am stopping because it is time to move on. I am sure I will have this convo with other complemenarians down the road, but done with this one.

  • Thank you Jory, this was helpful. I am a recent convert from Catholicism to Protestantism and am working through my understanding of gender roles in the church. I appreciate your reference to Wright who is a highly respected theologian in all camps. Has Wright written any specific books re: gender in the church? I would like to study his thoughts more completely.
    Also , though I find some of Bekah’s thoughts on gender somewhat compelling, ultimately her tone undermines her as it does her father. These are important issues in which sarcasm should be avoided and straight talk should be encouraged. You took the high road throughout this exchange and I commend you for that. To me it is clear that you love Christ and I am confident that He will use you to further his kingdom. Keep pressing on!

  • Thank you, Jory!

    Oddly Rebekah Merkle wrote her first post (this now the third) on patriarchy/feminism right as the spotlight on past abuses towards women in her church in Moscow resurfaced, maybe attempting to make subservience look beautiful, to “just trust us on this patriarchy thing; I know it looks ugly but look at me; I teach 18 year old boys.”

    Abuse continues to be and will always be the way in which patriarchy derails- abuse towards women and children. A paradigm wherein men- men only- grasp all the authority will lead to abuse. And if patriarchalists don’t believe that, they need to commit to spending one year sitting in on domestic abuse trials. How does it even seem sane to concoct an entire theology based on women (who are generally physically weaker) in subjection to men (who are generally physically stronger)?

  • Hello Ingrid,
    I am hoping you might reconsidered your thoughts on why Jory deleted DT’s comments. I actually read the first comment DT left because Jory allowed it but then it was after the second one that she decided to remove both. The comment I read from DT seemed rude to me and not at all an attempt to join the discussion to try and sort things out over this issue. Not everyone who comments does so for that reason some just comment to show their disagreement and don’t actually want to engage respectfully. I beleive that may have been why she removed them. I beleive it is perfectly acceptable to decide whose comments she wants to be read by all. Jory has not shown herself to not be willing to engage people who disagree with her. That seems to be one of the reasons she wrote these letters in the first place to engage with others of differing opinions, to learn from each other and maybe even be able to appreciate each others opinions even while remaining to disagree. I feel she has also been kind and respectful in how she responds to people. She is not policing the comments and instead that she is trying to, in my opinion, create a safe place for others to engage and sort out this topic. I think you may have misunstood Jory. Maybe you could think the best her and that she may have had a very good reason for removing DT’s comments.

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